Earth Day serves as a reminder for us to consider both our individual and collective impact on the environment. It’s also important to note the role employers play in greening the economy, and how their efforts influence the perspectives of current employees and potential candidates.
In a survey released last week, Harris Polls found that 44% of respondents said they’d rather be unemployed than work for a company that knowingly harms the environment – a sign that your company’s green initiatives affect your employer brand. With 81.5% of currently employed job seekers looking for jobs outside their current occupation, employers need to be mindful of all the ways top candidates are evaluating their options.
There are a number of resources job seekers can use to evaluate a company’s impact on the environment. The EPA’s Green Power Partnership lists the National 100 – a list of companies making the most of green energy. The top five include recognizable brands Intel, Microsoft, Kohl’s, Whole Foods, and Walmart.
And then there are green jobs themselves. According to March BLS data, green jobs grew 4X faster than other jobs from 2010 to 2014. These jobs make up a small percentage of jobs overall and are drawn from numerous industries, but their growth rate shows the increasing importance of their role in the economy.
As both employers and candidates recognize the significance of that role, companies can use green practices to attract talent. Some companies offer incentives for employees to make green choices, like providing vouchers for hybrid cars or solar panels. Others create internal infrastructure to influence greener behavior.
Indeed Economist Tara Sinclair notes, “Low inflation rates indicate that we may not see substantial wage increases in the near future. Instead, companies may compete to attract talent through such characteristics as brand, with greenness playing a role in the perception of that brand.” Building out an employer brand that encompasses the things that matter most to candidates will have an effect on hiring, especially as the economy recovers.